– Ramesh Lamsal
17 Jan, Kathmandu – RSS Most of the projects prioritized by the government as the ‘projects of national pride’ save one or two related to energy, water resources and irrigation are not found to be making meaningful progress.
The status of the performance of rest of the projects except the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project is not satisfactory. The government has listed 21 projects as the ‘national pride projects’.
A report prepared by the National Planning Commission (NPC) shows that the West Seti Hydro- electricity Project has not made any progress till now. The progress of this project remains almost nil since the 21 years.
The Chinese company Three Gorges which was said to promote this project has returned citing differences on some technical issues.
The government had formed a taskforce comprising the Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun, the Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada and Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Board Nepal, Maha Prasad Adhikari, regarding how to proceed ahead with the project. The taskforce has not prepared the report till date. It is said the taskforce is preparing its report.
Talking to RSS, Board CEO Adhikari said that the report is in the final stages of preparation and it would be presented in the Board meeting in few days. The report is being prepared under the coordination of Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Dinesh Kumar Ghimire.
Similarly, the overall physical progress of another national pride project – Budhigandaki Hydroelectricity Project – is 9.9 per cent and the financial progress only 10 per cent. This project is much talked about since the last five years. The government has given the responsibility of holding consultations about the project with a Chinese company to the Ministry of Energy and for preparing an appropriate modality of the project.
The Ministry has held consultations with the Chinese company few times. The task of distributing compensation for the land acquired for the project is in progress. However, the compensation for the land at Arughat Bazar of Gorkha and Khahare Bazar of Dhading district has not been determined as yet.
Nepal Oil Corporation has retained Rs 27 billion for the project. The project has so far distributed around Rs 20 billion as compensation to the project affected people.
Similarly, although around 97 per cent works of another national pride project, Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project, has been completed, its remaining work has not taken any momentum after the hydro mechanical contractor could not carry out stipulated works of the project.
The Ministry of Energy, Hydropower and Irrigation, NEA and the Project have forwarded construction works of the company after giving responsibility to another company. The 456-MW project has made preparation to produce electricity commercially by coming mid-November.
Likewise, there is also problem in Sikta Irrigation Project. The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has filed case against the project after contractors, consultants and technical staffs of the project were not found fulfilling their responsibilities. Physical progress of the project, which is under construction for the past 12 years, is 56.7 per cent while financial progress is 56.6 per cent.
The Special Court on Wednesday released Chief of Kalika Construction, Bikram Pandey, guilty of corruption in this project, on a bail of Rs 40 million.
Similarly, Bheri Babai Diversion Project is seen one of the hopeful projects. Out of 12-kilometres tunnel of the project, 10 kilometers tunnel has been completed so far. Likewise, works of Babai Irrigation Project and Ranijamara Kulariya project have not been seen effective.
– Ramesh Lamsal